Magic the Gathering

Final Judgment is not a Bounce

I just remembered another situation from last week’s PTQ in Hamburg. I was watching a match between two players I didn’t know during one of the early rounds of the tournament. Player A played a Final Judgment and player B picked up all of his creatures and put them into his hand. During his turn he started to play them out again. At first both players seemed content with this. While I was still considering what I overlooked though, A seemed to notice his error, grabbed the Final Judgment and read it again. He noticed his error and asked what they should do. B had now also realized his error and removed the cards he had bounced from the game. I rules that these cards are RFG now, since nothing important had happened in the meantime. (B had drawn his cards and played out one of the cards that should have been RFG. He could untap the mana he’d paid and play something else instead.)

After they did that, A pointed to another Judgment in his graveyard and stated that he had played the other Judgment just before that and that the the second Judgment he had just played was unnecessary. Therefore he picked up the latter Judgment and returned it to his hand. I ruled that both Judgments had been played and that I can’t reverse something that had happened a few turns before. So both Judgments stayed in the graveyard. I gave both players a Warning.

This situation was so ridiculous that I failed to intervene in time, since I was really thinking that I had to miss something. Two players misplaying Final Judgment as bounce … Anyways, I’m now off to the Magic Marathon, a monthly Standard REL 3 tournament at the Magic Center.

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More PTQ Bits

Here are some more bits from the PTQ that I forgot to mention in my last entry:

During the last Swiss round I was watching a match whose winner would make top 8. Player A had Heartbeat of Spring in play so that each land produced double that mana. A was at 1 life and did some splice action involving Soulless RevivalHana Kami, and Ethereal Haze every turn. This left him with 1 mana left in his mana pool, which he sunk into a Sensei’s Divining Top. After he had done this several times he didn’t announce the sinking part in one turn. So I said: “So, you burn for one.” The player explained that he of course sunk his remaining mana into Top as he had done before. I accepted his explanation since he had demonstrated his actions before and from the way he reacted I had no reason to assume that he had really forgotten about this mana. It seemed to me as if he had just taken a shortcut for actions he had previously explicitly announced.

There was actually a tense situation after the Swiss rounds were over and prices were given out to people not in the top 8. A player from my hometown Berlin (let’s be creative and call him M) had played against another player (O) during the last round. The winner of this match had a shot at top 8. (But it later turned out that whoever had won this match would only end up at 9th place.) The events played out as follows according to an investigation conducted by Tim and Philip: M had won the match but got distracted and forgot to fill out the result slip. O then filled out the result slip incorrectly, noting that he had won. He signed his own name, but didn’t hand in the result slip. (The signature of M was missing at this point.) When the result slip finally arrived at the scorekeeper’s result entry box it had two signatures. It couldn’t be determined who had signed for M or how the result slip ended up in the result entry box.

So Philip and Tim discussed what to do. O confirmed that he had lost the match, so the result of the match was uncontested. Also it was obvious that M’s signature was not M’s signature. It couldn’t be determined who had forged his signature though. Since we were waiting for the top 8 to start, I went over to them and heard of this story. After pondering it for a while, I told them: “I’m sure you will find a solution.” and went away again. This is the moment when you are glad you are not the head judge’s shoes. After a while I went over again, having pondered the issue myself. Just when I was about to suggest to change the result slip according to the actual result of the match, Philip and Tim both came the to the conclusion that the result would stand. Since a decision was finally made, I didn’t comment on this any further as not to further delay the tournament. I feel that both decisions (letting the result slip as handed in stand or changing to the actual result) have their merits and this was really a decision that could go either way.

From the PlanetMTG forums I later learned that there had been a similar case in the tournament before and that it had been ruled the same way.

Finally at the start of one of the Swiss rounds I overheard a player saying somethink like: “Then call a judge.” When I went there, both players assured me that a judge wasn’t required, but then one of the players (X is a nice letter I haven’t used today) added: “I just doesn’t like to be called [some names I don’t remember].” His opponent claimed that he didn’t said any of these words and also the players at the neighboring table who were watching obviously amused claimed not to have heard anything. From the way they were telling me I had the feeling that they were lying. So I took them both away from the table and called over head judge Tim. Well, it couldn’t be determined that X’s opponent had used any insults. In the end Tim gave a stern lecture to all players involved.

Both players were clearly pissed off during the rest of the round. When X was in a situation that didn’t look good for him (but was still not hopeless), he conceded. He was clearly very pissed off and said something something like: “I have enough. I don’t want to play against assholes like this. I’ll just concede.” He grabbed the result slip, marked a win for his opponent and a drop for himself on it. At this point I decided to let the insult against his opponent slip, since moods were not good at this point and I didn’t want this situation to spin out of control. Also X had already dropped from the tournament. I did inform Tim afterwards though. In retrospect letting this slip was most likely an error, though.

Well, that’s it for now. If I remember anymore interesting situations, I will surely blog about them.

Magic the Gathering

PTQ Los Angeles in Hamburg – Judge Report

Yesterday was a PTQ for PT Los Angeles in Hamburg. I planned to go there with a few friends anyway and since the TO Philip Schulz had asked for judges on the German judge list, I applied. We targeted our arrival at about 10, but between weekend traffic on the Autobahn, a broken route by Map24 and several closed streets on that route, we managed to arrive exactly at 11.

We were four judges total: Besides me there were Tim Richter (HJ, he passed his L2 test yesterday as well, yay!), Stefan Kurhofer und Johannes Schnoor. Philip was scorekeeping. We had 86 players, although it was a bit sad to see two thirds of Phoenix Foundation playing in a PTQ (Marco Blume and Dirk Baberowski). All in all the event ran smoothly, although there were of course a few interesting situations:

One situation involved Ghostly Prison and Godo, Bandit Warlord. The question was if a player had to pay for the Prison twice for the same creature if there were two attack phases (due to Godo). After consulting with other judges I ruled that you had to pay twice , although I wasn’t sure. The ruling was on the grounds that the way Ghostly Prison is worded, it will apply to every time attackers are declared. This ruling was later confirmed by judges on #mtgjudge.

I was called over to another situation that involved a player looking at another player’s hand cards without any effect allowing him to. The situation was not easy to resolve, especially since there were two issues mixed up. Player A had played Enduring Ideal before and was just in his upkeep resolving the Ideal as well as a Honden of Night’s Reach and a Honden of Infinite Rage. The players were not quite clear, whether the Honden A had just searched with the Ideal would also trigger (it won’t) and how cards B had to discard and how much damage the red Honden would do. Since A could explain to me the correct stacking order of the Honden and Ideal triggers (stack Honden’s first then Ideal), I rules that B would discard three cards and the red Honden would deal 3 damage.

Nevertheless the complicated issue was that A had placed his one remaining hand card face-down in the middle of the table while searching through his library. B had picked it up and looked at it. A claimed that B had asked “What’s this?” and A had answered “My hand card.” before B picked it up. B couldn’t remember whether there had been such a conversation. Also, B maintained that it didn’t matter, since A couldn’t play any spells anyways, due to the Ideal. I went to Tim and Philip and discussed that situation. I thought that a Game Loss was appropriate here. I think that B was confused when he looked at the card and did not think much about it before he did. Otherwise we would probably talking about a disqualification in this situation. Nevertheless I think that this is a very abusable situation. Looking at an opponent’s hand card can give you crucial information if not caught (Ideal or no Ideal). Tim went over himself and ended up giving B a warning. Also while we were still discussing the situation, B went over to us and told us that he would concede anyway, which he did.

Another situation that caused a bit of discussion was when Stefan went over to Tim and myself. A player had played a Cranial Extraction and accidently looked at his own library and shuffled it. Since he had reordered his top cards due to Sensei’s Divining Top before, Tim and I felt that a Game Loss was the only appropriate penalty here, since the game state was damaged beyond repair. I have to admit that I failed to ask Stefan some necessary question in this situation. (“Why didn’t the player’s opponent stop him when he looked at his own library?”, “Why did the player shuffle it when he noticed that it was the wrong library?”, “What targets did the player announce for the Extraction?”) Anyways, when we later discussed the ruling with Philip, he told us that he had just given a Warning for announcing the wrong target (his opponent instead of himself). While this is a sneaky way to prevent a player from getting a Game Loss, I don’t agree with that. I feel uneasy, since this seems to be easily abusable. Maybe the player noticed too late that he grabbed the wrong library and then used this opportunity to get a free shuffle? As I noted before, I am missing some information about this situation.

Finally there was the obligatory “DQ situation”. During one of the last Swiss rounds, Stefan asked me to help him. (I was not sure what the exact question was, though.) At a table two players were playing for a possible top 8 spot. The extra turns were practically over, but both players were tied, which would mean elimination for both of them. So they were discussing if one of them would scoop to the other. Always a slippery slope. Player C asked us judges whether they could role a die to determine the result. We denied this of course. They discussed a bit more and D asked C whether he would like to concede. C replied with: “Was würde mir das bringen?” (“What use would that be to me.”) Now this term can mean two things: “What are giving me for it?”, which would be a request to be bribed, but also a rhetorical “No, why should I?” In this situation it sounded to me to be the latter. Nevertheless I stepped in and told them that I would not tolerate the discussion going into this direction. In the end the players called it a draw.

Later Tim approached me. It seems that he interviewed C about this and he wanted to know my opinion. Actually I was a bit confused at first and was not sure what situation he was referring to, since I hadn’t viewed it as “serious”. I told him about my interpretation and in the end Tim decided just to give a Stern Lecture.

At the end of the day, I table judged the quarter finals between the two Berlin top 8 players, Gabriel Huber and Rosario Maij, which Rosario won 2–1. Since the people I drove with were eager to leave, I didn’t have the chance to judge or watch the half finals, but I later learned that Rosario went on to win his and so won one of the two flights to LA. Congrats to him as well as the other finalist, Fabio Reinhardt!

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PTQ LA in Hamburg

I will be judging the PTQ for Los Angeles in Hamburg this weekend. I was planning to go there with friends, but since Philip Schulz was still looking for judges, I applied, and fortunately I was accepted. Nice.

Magic the Gathering

PT London, Terrorism, and Miscellaneous Other Stuff

As you will have heard, there was a series of bombing in London today. Of course, tomorrow Pro Tour London is supposed to start, so many Magic people are gathered in London at the moment. I haven’t heard about any harmed Magic players or judges so far, so let’s hope for the best.

Wizards plans to run the Pro Tour as planned. Personally I welcome this. We should try to continue living our lives as normal as possible and cancelling such an event sends the wrong signal. Also, many people have taken holidays or spent money travelling to London and they should not be disappointed. Life goes on.

On a more happy note, I’ve been invited to judge German Nationals this year. I’m really looking forward to judge a big event again and to meet nice people. Finally, I will travel to a PTQ in Hamburg the weekend after next. I will go with friends, and since Philip Schulz was still looking for judge, I applied. If I’m not accepted as judge, I will play in the event, which should be fun as well.